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If you don't have your own plate of a certain food, but are just taking from a communal plate/bowl that is being passed around (i.e. a bowl of popcorn), should you make a bracha rishona each time you take some food? Or before you start taking food (i.e., by making a blessing on the whole bowl)? Or never?

For bracha acharona, I'm assuming that you would make it as usual, depending on the total amount of food and the time it took to eat it.

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Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/35628/… –  SAH Aug 14 at 19:43
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What is "too little for a bracha"? Are you referring to bracha rishona or bracha achrona? –  Double AA Aug 14 at 19:54
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I'm assuming that you are referring to a bracha rishona. There isa certain time allotment for eating a k'zayit - the usual minimum amount of food requiring a bracha. As I understand, if the snack bowl is coming to you often enough for you to finish the k'zayit in the maximum alloted time, then it seems that you would have to make a bracha rishona. In short, I'm addressing the 2nd para. of your question. Have to locate a source on this. –  DanF Aug 18 at 17:34
    
Actually I meant bracha acharona regarding the amounts. But bracha rishona is an interesting question too. Do you really have to make a new bracha every time you take food from the bowl? Or could you bless the whole bowl, for instance? –  SAH Aug 20 at 12:34
    
@DanF AFAICT you just made up that a kzayit is the minimum amount to say a bracha rishona. There is no such rule. –  Double AA Aug 20 at 13:58

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If it is the assumption, at the time you make the bracha rishona, that you are going to keep eating, then that original bracha rishona is still valid (provided you haven't had a hesech ha'daat [halachik distracted attention] in the interim, e.g. by leaving the house - shinui makom). See e.g. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/hilchos-brachos/y4tjLoBP0v8 and http://www.torahdownloads.com/shiur-20417.html (As in the above link based on the Igros Moshe of Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"L, there is a time limit on a bracha achrona based on how long it takes to digest e.g. 72 minutes - this is not the case with a bracha rishona which could technically be valid all day if there is no hesech hadaas.

(Technically, we're not blessing the food but are addressing G-d and thanking him for it. There is an obligation upon a person before partaking of food or drink to make the appropriate blessing. Upon making the appropriate blessing, the food that one intends to eat no longer requires an additional blessing provided there has not been a hesech hadaas in the interim. The ways there would be a bracha l'vatala (blessing in vain) because of multiple people intending the same food is if one of them blessed without actually eating or blessed again on food that they had already originally intended to potentially eat when they made the original blessing. As long as everyone ate a tiny amount, no one violated a bracha l'vatala even if they originally intended to eat more.)

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Thank you. But when we make a bracha, it's important to know what food we are blessing--so are we technically blessing the whole bowl of food with that first bracha? And wouldn't that make others' brachas on their food from the bowl levatala?? –  SAH Aug 26 at 22:43
    
@SAH We don't bless food. We bless God for the food. –  Double AA Aug 28 at 2:21
    
@DoubleAA Of course you're right. Still interested in the answer to my question... "Are we making a blessing ON the whole bowl of food?" I think the bracha levatala issue is relevant. –  SAH Aug 28 at 3:00
    
@Loewian Thanks for your addition. Can you just clarify: if someone makes a blessing on the whole bowl of food, but only eats part of the food, is his blessing not in vain? Why not? –  SAH Aug 28 at 3:03
    
@SAH: I'm sure it's not a blessing in vain, but struggle to explain why. If you say a bracha rishona while holding a peeled mandarin, you're thanking God for creating the world and for giving you the mandarin. You don't have to eat the whole mandarin. In fact, even if you eat just half a segment, you're still fine. You thanked God for mandarins, then you ate a piece of one. If you eat another half segment the next day, you must make another bracha rishona. Every day that you eat some of the mandarin, another bracha rishona is required. Does this clarify things completely for you? –  unforgettableid Oct 12 at 4:11

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